Tutorial

Although Rib is at its core a Haskell library (and meant to be used as one, rather than as a framework), it provides toolset (based on nix, ghcid, fsnotify, etc.) to make working with static sites pleasant.

Directory structure

Let us clone the template repository, rib-sample, and inspect what’s in it:

$ git clone https://github.com/srid/rib-sample.git mysite
...
$ cd mysite
$ ls -F
content/  default.nix  Main.hs  README.md  rib-sample.cabal

The three key items here are:

  1. Main.hs: Haskell source containing the DSL of the HTML/CSS of your site. See Quick Preview.
  2. content/: The source content (eg: Markdown sources and static files)
  3. dest/: The target directory, excluded from the git repository, will contain generated content (i.e., the HTML files, and copied over static content)

The template repository comes with a few sample posts under content/, and a basic HTML layout and CSS style defined in Main.hs.

Run the site

Now let’s run them all.

Clone the sample repository locally, install Nix (as described in its README) and run your site as follows:

nix-shell --run 'ghcid -T ":main serve"'

Running this command gives you a local HTTP server at http://127.0.0.1:8080 (serving the generated files) that automatically reloads when either the content (content/) or the HTML/CSS/build-actions (Main.hs) changes. Hot reload, in other words.

How Rib works

How does the aforementioned nix-shell command work?

  1. nix-shell will run the given command in a shell environment with all of our dependencies (notably the Haskell ones including the rib library itself) installed.

  2. ghcid will compile your Main.hs and run its main function.

  3. Main.hs:main in turn calls Rib.App.run which takes as argument your custom Shake action that will build the static site.

  4. Rib.App.run: this parses the CLI arguments and runs the rib CLI “app” which can be run in one of a few modes — generating static files, watching the content/ directory for changes, starting HTTP server for the dest/ directory. The “serve” subcommand will run the Shake build action passed as argument on every file change and spin up a HTTP server.

Run that command, and visit http://127.0.0.1:8080 to view your site.

Editing workflow

Now try making some changes to the content, say content/first-post.md. You should see it reflected when you refresh the page. Or change the HTML or CSS of your site in Main.hs; this will trigger ghcid to rebuild the Haskell source and restart the server.

What’s next?

Great, by now you should have your static site generator ready and running!

Rib recommends writing your Shake actions in the style of being forward-defined which adds to the simplicity of the entire thing.